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REPLIES TO THE BOBGAN'S THREE VERY CRITICAL REVIEWS OF BAGFY

A REPLY TO THE BOBGANS - "BREAKDOWNS ARE GOOD FOR YOU" DISCREDITED PART 1

On January 30 2009 I was informed by two separate sources that the Bobgans, two American authors highly critical of the psychiatric/psychological professions, had written a scathing review of BAGFY. I found this on their website (CLICK HERE FOR THEIR FIRST ARTICLE). under "Critiques of the Biblical Counseling Movement" and the article was written in Jan-Feb 2009. A second critical article was promised later.
I find it simplest to examine specific criticisms they make in the order of their article, concluding with some general comments.
By way of introduction, in a newsletter he mentioned that he had spoken at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London in 2008 and afterwards several people had come to him mentioning BAGFY and recommending it to him with approval. He decided to get his own copy and study it. This is rather strange because as far as I was aware he had been sent a copy several years before then. Dave Hunt's organisation "The Berean Call" had taken a large order of my four creation books in 1990. I then sent them BAGFY in 2000 to see if they would also distribute this in America. The staff said how much they appreciated it, but they sent the copy to the Bobgans for their opinion - who turned it down. I never did find the reason why.
Now he speaks as if this is the first time he had heard of the book. Strange!
(1) Our claim that the book is unique.
"It is so unique that none of the Christians mentioned favorably by them, including Dr. Jay Adams, would endorse the central propositions and claims of Law and Bowden. Their position is so unique that it would be appropriate to call it bizarre; it is truly preposterous - a one of its kind."
He is particularly scathing about our claim about self-pity being the cause of mental illnesses, saying "Others who follow them need to be aware that this conclusion is uniquely theirs, lacks support from others, and is found nowhere among other writers they quote, contrary to what they claim."
The blatant falseness of this statement suggests to me that he is so blinded by his hatred of the book that it has clouded his grasp of what Adams has said in his books.
How does he know that Adams would NOT endorse our view? Has he ever discussed it with him. Certainly we quote Adams several times because virtually all that he says in his books is in line with our views. I give just a few instances from "The Christian Counsellor's Manual" on Adams references to self-pity -
(i) [Some Dont's in counseling] 20. Call sin sickness. 22. Wallow in self-pity, envy or resentment.
(ii) [50 Failure Factors] 18. Are you empathizing with self-pity? 24. Is the problem not so complex after all, but simply a case of open rebellion?
(iii) Have you failed to give hope by calling sin SIN?
(iv) Chapter 32 - Title - "Dealing with envy, brooding and self-pity". "Self pity is the stuff out of which depression, murder, suicide and other sins are made. [p372]. "Self-pitying persons are absorbed into themselves, need to be shown that the world was not created for them personally and that it is their pride and self-centredness that lies at the root of their problems." [All emphasis added]
Many more examples could be given of how close Adams is to our view. For example, we both contend that schizophrenia is NOT a medical illness.
I am a great devotee of Adams, and led a group for three years studying all his works. We started to struggle through his "Christian Counselor's Casebook" and whilst reviewing the first few cases, I suddenly realised that running like a thread through all these cases was the counsellor's pride. Once I realised that, dealing with the other cases became easy. This factor of pride as the root of bad behaviour formed a key to all that I have subsequently written.
Adams refers to sin frequently and self-pity several times, but only occasionally to the pride of the counsellor. For some time I struggled to see an overall view of counselling because "sin" seemed so all encompassing of all bad behaviour that I found it difficult to express it in concrete terms to people's specific bad behaviour. It was only when I realised that the root was pride that developed into self-centredness that I was able to make a direct connection between their behaviour with their wrong attitude to life. When I later met Rober Law, he added the factor of self-pity as the beginning of the descent into the behaviours classed as "mental illnesses". To give the impression that Adams would be against everything we say in our book requires only reading his manual and other major works to show not only how unwarranted but how ridiculous is the Bobgan's claim.
I have only two reservations regarding Adam's work.
1. His infrequent references to the pride of the counsellee.
In his large manual, there is only one mention in the index (p.202). Having given a list of sins and a refusal to accept help, he says "Often pride is behind the objection." I examine this whole subject in the summary.
2. Having discovered what the root problem really is, I felt that Adam's lengthy and involved lists of things that counsellors should look out for in a counsellee actually obscured the root problem under many layers of "halo data", homework (which I would also set), breaking down a problem into many parts, check lists to look through, etc. Pointing to pride as the key that unlocks these problems clearly angers some, but many have said how much they have benefitted from looking at their attitude to life and seeing how this has operated so powerfully within them without realising it.
Frankly, I see little need for expensive and lengthy residential courses in order to train counsellors to expose what is really the basic pride that is working in their counsellee's lives.

(2) The softened approach.
"We ourselves have a position contrary to many of those in both the psychological and biblical counseling movements"
This is a huge understatement. Most of their books are extremely critical of the whole of the psychiatric/psychology movement and its practices and many Christian counsellors also. Indeed, most of their books strongly criticise one or more aspects of the counselling movement. It would seem that in softening their differences in this passage, they want to show that they are not extremists and do have credible support from some quarters. I would, however, add that I fully support their criticism of secular and some Christian counsellors.
Why they chose to make such a strong attack upon BAGFY we will consider later.

(3) Credentials
[They have many endorsements from famous people] "In contrast, Law and Bowden, in spite of their mentioning Christians and secularists to support their unique position, have none of those favorably named in their book to endorse their work; nor would they if asked."
Does he expect us to write to all those we quote for their endorsement of all of our propositions? Could he honestly say that every author he quotes would fully endorse all his claims and severe criticisms? We surely have the right to quote those whose research supports our views without expecting them to agree with all that we have written on counselling.
Regarding endorsements of the book, we had no "highly regarded" contacts that would approve of what we knew were highly controversial views. In the writing of the book I was very well aware that it would be extremely controversial, and fully expected it to be very unpopular with the secular world and the liberal church. What did surprise me a little was that although we were based solely upon the Bible, we received the same angry response and blockage from evangelical churches and organisations. I was again thoughtful on why this should be.

(4) Self contradiction.
In order to blur the boundary between medical and spiritual sources of schizophrenia, he says "It is true that there are no clear organic markers for mood disorders such as schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression..." and then criticises us for pointing to the spiritual source alone. However, only a few paragraphs later he says "Mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression, are often biological in origin." If there are "no clear organic markers" how can he make such a bold yet self-contradictory claim?
When anyone critical of one or more counselling methods raises the bogeyman of possible misdiagnosis of what may be a medical problem, they do not seem to realise that they are sawing off the branch on which they are sitting. What they are implying is that ALL counsellors must have a complete and ongoing medical training so that they will be able to accurately diagnose a medical condition which causes mental problems when a counsellee comes for help. Such a requirement would mean that EVERY person counselling should stop doing so immediately, and this would include every minister in a church who counsels his flock. It only has to be stated to reveal the foolishness of such a criticism. It is all part of the "throw everything at them" syndrome!
Furthermore, should a counselee have a medical problem, the real issue then becomes "Are you dealing with this problem in a mature Christian way? (Or are you using it to avoid taking responsibility and avoiding the problems of life?)

(5) Near blasphemy!

Having criticised the section where we analyse the sins of some Bible characters, he concludes "... they nail each person with their self-pity hammer. We were thankful that at least they did not hammer Jesus with their self-pity nonsense." He implies that we carefully looked into the character of Christ but refrained from any criticism. This charge reveals something of the state of mind of the man who could pen such a passage. We will only quote the Old French motto of "Honi soit qui mal y pense" - "Evil be to him who evil thinks."
There is much more that we could comment on in his criticism, but let us draw this all to a close - until his second article criticising BAGFY!

SUMMARY
There are two questions that the Bobgan's fearsome criticism of BAGFY raises in my mind at least.

(1) Why such fierce criticisms?
I have maintained that I agree totally with all that Jay Adams and the Bobgans have written in their many books, I was therefore initially puzzled by why BAGFY should then be subject to such a ferocious attack when we should be working on the same side. Several years ago there was a radical proposal in the creation world by an unknown author, that set all creationists talking - a few approved it, many rejected it. Eventually, the three major creationist organisations in America and overseas decided it was wrong and refused to accept papers contrary to their now formed and mutually agreed opinions. Sortly afterwards, an alternative theory was produced that had the great attraction that it was "home grown" and this was finally adopted by the American creationist organisations. This was despite private admission that the original theory solved many creationist problems at a stroke and that the new model had many flaws. I fear that our radical and controversial book, coming as it does from "little 'ol UK" by unknown and uncredited authors, may have similarly fallen under the condemnation of not being "home grown", to be criticised and duly replaced by a "home grown" product.

(2) Pride?
As I have mentioned above, it has been quite intriguing to me that in all the books I have read on counselling, very rarely do they ever refer to the subject of pride compared to the importance that we have placed upon it in BAGFY.
To be fair, Bobgan DOES make references to the importance of pride. In his book "James Dobson:self -esteem gospel" he mentions "pride" 8 times and "sin" about 75 times. I have always preferred to put the emphasis on "pride" as this has a much more immediate impact because people realise that in many ways they are secretly proud. People too often consider "sin" to cover only the really anti-social acts like murder, theft, embezzlement etc. It is for this reason that in BAGFY "pride" has 24 references in the index and "sin" only 13.
I cannot claim to have read all of his many books but from their many titles, most seem to be strong criticisms of the whole counselling procedure - including that of many Christian counsellors - and little direct counselling advice where pride and self-centredness are placed at the very root of problems. None of us are perfect, and this leaves open the possibility that it may have had an influence on their attack upon our book.
I have referred to Adams' failure to emphasise the importance of pride in a counsellee. In another large book on counselling by two authors I greatly admire, the subject did not appear in the index but I found one mention, in which those who needed to make a public confession "may find pride holding them back". Throughout the whole book I felt like saying "Can you not see what is right under your nose?" Authors cannot plead ignorance of its importance in human life, for C.S. Lewis spends much time on this subject in his widely read "Mere Christianity", noting it is the Cardinal Sin and showing how it is fundamental to all wrong attitudes to life, and consequently to actions. Why should counsellors, who are trying to rid the counsellee of all his sinful ways, not give more emphasis to this factor if pride is at the very root of them all?
I can only offer two points for consideration.
(i) Is pride so deeply rooted in the human psyche that even good Christians fear to deal with it? Is there possibly a deep subconscious horror that if anyone were to start discussing the subject, particularly if they were to raise the subject themselves, that the searchlight of scrutiny for pride might be turned upon them? Who of us could escape from such an examination and still feel free of guilt?
Not one.
Hence, this might explain why the subject is absolutely forbidden (along with the words "guilt", "responsibility", etc.) in psychiatry/psychology, and only briefly referred to in Christian counselling books. I leave the reader to provide a better reason.
This is all closely connected with my second point.
(ii) In thinking and writing about Christian counselling, I soon realised that in dealing with pride I was treading on very dangerous ground. There is a saying that runs along the line that "Those who speak much about a human weakness are subject to that very same problem." This has, in fact, been suggested to me by a Christian.
I do not think that there is any real justification for ever making this charge against anybody. It sounds more like a means of making a cheap and easy riposte to try to find SOME countering argument, no matter how weak or inappropriate, to offset the unwelcome views being presented.
For myself, I cannot judge my own motivation in its totality. It is like peeling he skins off an onion - every layer reveals an even deeper layer. Beyond a certain point, self introspection can become damaging to one's mental balance in life.
I have long realised that other people, even Godly Christians, will not be my final judge; I am simply leaving God to judge me on such deep issues.
Meanwhile, in this poor old sin-sick world, I am encouraged when I receive letters and emails thanking me for providing the key that has enabled those seeking help to open the barred door of their prison that they now realise was of their own making.
Malcolm Bowden.
February 2009.
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A REPLY TO THE BOBGANS' -
"BREAKDOWNS ARE GOOD FOR YOU" DISCREDITED PART 2

Having written out a reply to the Bobgans' first heavy criticism of our book, I awaited publishing it on my website until I had read the second paper that was promised. It has now (March 2009) appeared on their website at
(CLICK HERE FOR THEIR SECOND ARTICLE). He deals mainly with discrediting our quoting of the results that Glasser gives of the four institutions in his "Reality Therapy" [our pages 27-33 mainly].

1. Ventura School for Girls.
(A) "We emphasize that these were delinquent girls and not girls labeled with "mental illness."
This is obvious from our account, BUT what we are pointing to is the huge improvement of MANY forms of bad behaviour and social irresponsibility when they are specifically trained to take responsibility for their actions. Whether they are depressed, schizophrenics, sociopaths, etc. they are ALL exhibiting behaviour of people who have failed to act responsibly, grow up, face up to life's problems and become mature, taking their proper place in society as well balanced citizens - and hopefully Christians also..
(B) Bobgan seems to have rung a "Corrections" official who contacted another official who was working when Glasser operated the school. He reported "schizophrenics and others with similar mental problems would have been referred to the Department of Mental Health." Bobgan states this as though we were trying to hide this fact. Again, this is obvious from our book. The reasons above answer this.
(C) "Therefore, this information disqualifies Law and Bowden's example to prove the effectiveness of Reality Therapy with schizophrenics and others with serious mental problems."
Does it? Does Bobgan consider schizophrenia a "serious mental problem"? If so, is he aware of the Pheonix Conference in 1985 when a panel of famous names dealing with schizophrenia decided by 3 out of 4 that "the disease was non-existent." Thomas Sasz has said much the same thing in his "The Myth of Mental Illness". Jay Adams and others have come to the same conclusion.
(D) Bobgan quotes Glasser in RT - "neither of us is in a position to set up a controlled research program" Consider the sequence; Glasser establishes a centre for sociopathic girls who had failed at other establishments - they were the worst offenders and had not improved despite treatment. Under Glasser's RT the success rate rose to 88%. I would maintain that Glasser HAD effectively carried out a control test even though he did not realise it. For years, these girls had been subjected to the "standard" treatment of the State, and had failed to respond. These same girls under RT, a totally different regime, DID respond and there was a huge improvement! This is surely sufficiently convincing.
Indeed, this charge of not having carried out a controlled research programme - double blind or not - is a charge made in another critical review appearing the Christian Medical Fellowship which I answer at www.mbowden.info/helixweb4.htm . I cannot help feeling that it is an accusation that is only levelled at results that are unacceptable to the reviewer! Such a person would have no hesitation in quoting other results that had no such controls if they were in agreement with the reviewer's views! It is so easy to rack up the standards where you want to discredit the results.
(E) Bobgan phoned Glasser "he informed us that he would not support the idea that there is one singular cause of all "mental illness," such as self-pity."
Not having a verbatim account of the conversation, how this question was put to Glasser could be important. I examine Glasser's present views later.
The Bobgans make much of the fact that RT is NOT being practised anywhere in the US and here Glasser himself now seems to be denying his work recorded in his book.
Many years ago, there was a psychiatrist who often criticised the big drug companies for their drive to sell drugs but having no concern for those affected by serious "side effects". A few years later I happened to meet the man himself. He was now head of a small institution with its own purpose built building. I could not help feeling that he had been "bought" by the drug companies to silence his continual criticisms.
I could not help wondering whether something not too dissimilar may have taken place with RT. It does not seem to be practised ANYWHERE, despite the amazing results achieved as recorded in "Reality Therapy". Have the American drug companies blocked the whole subject? I note that Glasser seems to have changed the name to "Choice Therapy", which sounds a much more moderate title.
There is the point that Bobgan continually hammers on "self-pity", but there are what might be called the precursors of pride and self-centredness which can lead to breakdowns on their own. Self-pity is the end result that can finish the descent into "mental illness". That self-pity is not referred to by psychiatrists does not surprise me. There are other words like guilt and responsibility that are anathema to them, for it shows that the real problem is within the patient. It is the same with the hidden anger that is at the root of depression - rarely referred to by psychiatrists but does occasionally surface in some reports. That the patient is angry could imply that I should be under his control; it is not an external matter that has caused him to become angry.

(2) The Veteran's Institute.
"Law and Bowden ask, "Is Biblical Counselling too 'confrontational' and 'judgmental'?" Because, the two-edged sword of whether a "mental illness" is spiritual or biological cuts both ways (i.e., no one knows for sure),
There are a number of people who have investigated the whole of the psychiatric profession and declared it a complete sham. One has only to go on the internet to find massive evidence of the corruption of psychiatrists and the drug companies. Reports abound. We will continue to maintain that non-organic "mental illnesses" are non-existent and are due to pride, self-centredness and self-pity. If the Bobgan's are unsure on this point, do they have the right to pontificate in their severe diatribes against the whole of the psychiatric/psychological professions - and against our book that DOES provide evidence? If they dismiss the results of psychiatrists and our approach, what DO they consider is the root of "mental illnesses"? Let them make some POSITIVE claims for once. Are they fearful that they might be criticised in turn? Perhaps, not unconnected with this, is that you cannot contact them by email. This is the only website I know that does this. All has to be done by snail mail. Are they wanting to broadcast criticisms but make it difficult to reply?
(B) "Without the usual scientific standards in place, competent researchers would not quote the Veterans Administration word-of-mouth testing by Harrington.
So, not liking the results that Harrington gives in a book, he is made to be a liar! Interesting. Whenever the Bobgan's quote from a book, do they only give data from double blind evidence with a control group every time. I doubt it.
Bobgan should know that all "mental illnesses" have no scientific diagnostic background to them whatsoever. A group of psychiatrists sit around a table and vote if a collection of symptoms warrants being classified as a new "mental illness". There is absolutely no science behind such classifications, yet they are used to obtain funds for treatment from the State. How can Bobgan criticise us for "lack of rigour" when the whole world of "mental illness" is a complete fabrication by men with vested interests.

(3) "Is success Irrelevant?"
We are criticised for later saying that success rates in TBC are ultimately not the final criterion, for the simple reason that, as with all counselling, the counsellee has the right to either accept or reject the advice offered. Often, TBC is rejected simply because it places the problem at the feet of the counsellee, and this is strongly resented. It is for this reason why no organisation - even Evangelical Christians - will support it or give it any publicity. However, we are still confident that God knows what is best for fallen mankind. If we apply biblical principles to our lives, we should be fully mature and will enjoy "the peace of God which passes understanding" - irrespective of our surrounding problems that we all encounter in our lives.
When we are dealing with God's truth, that fact that it may not be acceptable to the majority in no way diminishes its effectiveness when it is put into practice. Christ preached a gospel of love and peace for all - and look at the reception He received! It just shows how deeply rooted pride is in the lives of fallen mankind.

(4) A Summary - so far.
(A) In all their writings, the Bobgans consistently attack the professional psychiatrists/psychologists and their treatments of patients - the results of which can have disastrous results from the drugs they so freely hand out - at a charge. With this, we are in full agreement with their stance. However, I could not help smiling at the way in which on more than one occasion Bobgan phoned, cap in hand, to the State Authorities to obtain evidence against us. He accepted their assurances without a murmur. Having mistrusted them so far, did he now change his attitude and accept all that they said? I deal with this later.
(B) I do not accept what he was told by the present authorities when he rang them - that their records show no evidence of Glasser's results and they had never heard of Reality Therapy etc. Glasser clearly put the responsibility for their condition upon the patients - and this is NOT acceptable to present day psychiatrists. Therefore RT would have been ignored as ultimately it would have undermined the income of the drug companies - and we know just how powerful and ruthless they are!
In 2008, I (unusually) was helping a lady whose mother was schizophrenic and we both tried hard to find an institution that was prepared to house schizophrenics against their will - just as Glasser, Harrinton and Mainord were able to do. We felt that her mother needed a routine and discipline to behave sensibly. (Her mother, at one stage, actually admitted that she had been play acting all along!) We were unable to find one here or in America or anywhere. To me, this suggests that RT has had much opposition from the professional vested interests. See BAGFY p. 33. A restricting regime with strong discipline was used in the TV series "Brat Camp" for undisciplined girls and seems to have been fairly successful.
(C) Bobgan makes a very strong attack upon our poor little book, and one can almost hear his glee and the pleasure he has in ripping it to pieces. Unfortunately, in the words of Shakespeare "methinks he doth protest too much." He has shown a side of his nature that is not particularly endearing.
(D) Why the anger?
Bobgan may well claim that our approach is dangerous, unscientific etc. and is therefore to be totally rejected by all Christians and counsellors, but I cannot help wondering if there are other deeper issues involved.
(i) He comes to this quaint little country called England, is recommended a book by English authors by several people after his talk. When he reads it, did he suddenly realise that it actually puts its finger on the very root of all counselling problems. In one stroke, all the psychiatric profession is undermined by TBC which gets to the root of the problems so simply and quickly. It also rendered his criticisms of the profession a little dated. Something had to be done to destroy this revolutionary book!
(ii) In addition, is he possibly piqued by the fact that he did not realise just how fundamentally important this aspect was and write about it first?
(iii) Was there a further factor in that we major on pride as the root of problems. I have noted before (in the first reply) that this subject is hardly ever mentioned even by counsellors I admire. Does this reveal a deep seated fear of he subject being raised as the spotlight might be turned upon them?
(iv) Furthermore, as I pointed out in my reply to their first critical article, America dominates many areas of life throughout the world, and can be resistant to any major advances that are not "home grown". In our case I fear that our poor little book, coming from that "quaint lil' ol' island" and written by two completely unknown and uncredited authors in this field, nevertheless effectively pulls the rug from beneath the whole of the psychiatric/psychological professions. Has it become a victim of what is colloquially known as the NIH (Not Invented Here) syndrome?
This is not the first time I have seen this in operation as I outlined in my first reply.
(v) This is not the last of his criticisms, for he notes at the end - "To be concluded in next newsletter". He obviously is enjoying himself so much that he cannot let the subject go. I await this further onslaught with my usual level of fear and trepidation!
Malcolm Bowden
26 March 2009.

................

THE BOBGAN'S CRITICISM OF BAGFY - PART 3.

We have now seen the third article in which the Bobgan's criticise BAGFY. To read it, go to -
http://www.psychoheresy-aware.org/breakdowns3.html
This article is much more vague than the previous ones, and in reading his criticisms, it really comes down to a matter of personal views on how the Bible should be understood. I comment as follows.

1. He says "Thus, within the framework of their belief that the sin of self-pity causes depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia, they are trying to make the Bible say that all a person has to do to get over depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia is to "freely choose God's ways."
I cannot see that this is either incorrect or heresy. Surely the problems of the world stem from the sin in the world, and conversely, if we did not sin and all behaved in the way that God wants us to behave, then the world truly would be a place of "sweetness and light". This does not discuss the subject of salvation, but I would maintain that it is a result that would automatically flow from unselfish behaviour.
On this subject of self pity, I happened to glance at his book "How to Counsel from Scripture" and came across the statement "Often a person enmeshed in the feelings of self pity does not see God's love and fears that God will hurt him rather than help." (p77). So a counsellee can be enmeshed in self pity, so, by inference, it DOES play a large part in the need for counselling, even on his own admission. It is just that we point to it as a major factor on the disastrous road to "mental illness". From the index, this seems to be the only reference to self pity, but we must still ask "Why then does he make this a major criticism of our book?"

2. He says "However, not all personal problems are due to personal sin. Instead, many problems are simply the result of the accumulation of sin throughout the ages that has brought about a general deterioration of what God created in perfection. Law and Bowden fail to mention how this deterioration has resulted in diseases and genetic flaws that may contribute to depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia even without obvious physical markers."
Note how he here says accumulation of sin has resulted in DISEASES and genetic flaws that MAY contribute to depression etc. So some responsibility for mental illnesses can be blamed on diseases and genetic flaws. Where does he get this from and where does he draw the line? What level of responsibility does he place upon the person and how much on his "accumulated sin" over many ages - for which he will not be held responsible?
I have said many times that the Bible never allows for any weaknesses in our personalities. They are there to be overcome. Christ said "Be ye perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" [Matt. 5:48] 1 Cor. 3:11-14 similarly makes it clear that God will burn away from us everything that is not perfect, and in reading this passage, I do not get the sense that ANY excuses will ultimately be acceptable.

3. Regarding the aim for perfection, he says "However, even the most mature and godly saints are not able to do this." Again, he is confusing the theology and trying to make us say what we are NOT saying. Of course we cannot achieve perfection in this life, but nevertheless, this is the aim specified by Christ Himself. He may "know" his Bible, but how much does he really understand it?

4. He continues to quote various claims we make and then criticises them, but his reasoning is that they must be wrong because he disagrees with them! So often what he says simply comes down to his personal opinion. I still hold to all that we have said in the book and his arguments have at no time caused me to doubt anything that we have said in it. I have the feeling that he is beginning to run out of serious criticisms of our book, and is beginning to thrash around for SOMETHING more to criticise.

5. "all of their examples are based on anecdotes, testimonials, and man's wisdom, but without any valid scientific support." So all the case histories we set out in "Reality Therapy" and the many other recorded examples in books we refer to are swept to one side in this arrogant and unjustified claim! One wonders how he manages to write his own books! How often does he quote other authors to support his case. Having said this, most of his writings are severely critical of almost everybody involved in counselling - so perhaps he does not like referring approvingly to any other author on counselling!
I did look at his book on counselling referred to above. As it is specifically counselling "from Scripture". it has many references to the Bible, but quotes from other authors are occasionally made. Has he investigated them all to the high level that he demands of us?

This does raise the important question of counselling from the Bible ALONE. It SHOULD be sufficient to give the counsellee Bible verses to read, absorb and put into practice, but where this had been tried the results are rarely successful . Many DO come to Christ simply by reading the Bible, but those needing counselling may need it explained in a way that they can "connect with" because it is made relevant to THEIR present warped view of life. I would be interested in other Christian's point of view..
It seems that in the same way, a Godly and able preacher can "open up the Bible" so that the hearers begin to clearly understand what the message is and then can put it into practice. Good preachers should explain how to put the Bible into practice in our everyday life; i.e. they should counsel from the pulpit so that specific counselling sessions with individuals becomes unnecessary. I have noticed that when the subject of putting the Bible into practice regarding responsibility, thinking more of others, self control, denying selfishness in any form, etc. it grips the attention of the congregation who "sit on the edge of their seats" and listen with great interest.

6. One of the most disreputable ploys he uses is the tactic known as "guilt by association" [See my "Science vs. Evolution" Appendix IV "Deceptive Stratagems" in which I list 28 ploys used by evolutionists against creationists]. He refers to an author, Wright, who has said that bodily diseases and mental disorders are rooted in spiritual causes. We have never ever said that real medical diseases are rooted in spiritual causes, but nevertheless Bobgan makes this totally unwarranted and unjust association. It is surely indicative of his warped mental approach to our book that he should make such a connection in order to ridicule our views. He should be ashamed of his conduct.

7. Further comments on his review would only descend to the level of "nit-picking" and I have no wish to descend to his level of criticism.

I will finish this reply by asking him, and any of my readers just three questions.
(i) Where is his evidence that we have caused serious deterioration in a person's "mental health"? Yes, we have had criticisms and angered some people, but this is the natural reaction of someone who has been faced for the first time with the claim that his problems are fundamentally of his own making.
(ii) If, by his estimate, our book is so dangerous, how is it that we have received many letters and emails of thanks from people released from their own prison of pride, self-centredness and self-pity? Remember, that it was several people who thought highly of the book who brought it to his attention after he had been speaking at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London a few years ago! As they say, his reaction to it is history!
(iii) Why does he find our book so infuriating that he should write three long criticism of it? We agree with virtually all that he has said in his books and we both base our views upon the Bible. Yet, despite this, he vents his anger upon us. I cannot help thinking that there are deeper causes involved.

Malcolm Bowden
October 2009


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